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Hinaai sisters steal the show in Jiu-Jitsu Cup

Abu Dhabi: The Hinaai sisters, Maha Saleh and Mahra Saleh, stole the limelight on the second day of the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Cup at First Gulf Bank Arena in Zayed Sports City here on Thursday.

Elder sibling Maha clinched gold in the yellow-orange 58.5kg teen category, beating Rouda Ahmad Al Mazroui of Qatr Al Nada School, while Mahra followed suit by bagging the same colour medal in the yellow-orange 42kg teen category ahead of Dhabiya Khamis.

The sisters thus swelled Al Ma’ali School’s medal tally to 16 — eight golds, four silvers and four bronze.

“I have been training for the last three years and have already won nine medals from various tournaments. I’m extremely pleased with the result today and to see my sister also win was special,” said an elated Maha, proudly sporting her medal.

Mahra also was thrilled with the triumph, saying: “I’m extremely happy with my performance and I’m now very much looking forward to the World Championship to be held here [in April]. Our parents have always been supportive and that’s one of the reasons we have done well. They will be very happy with our showing today.”

Al Ma’ali School’s Brazilian coach Karem Quintana was also elated with her team’s showing and went on to reveal that the popularity of the sport has grown tremendously.

“There is so much interest for the sport now and it has simply grown over the years. More girls are taking part and, even after finishing school, the girls can keep pursuing the sport, which is a good sign. The parents are also quite willing to support their kids and such competition will definitely help in creating more interest.”

UAE JJ ADCC School’s Ashwaq Al Khouri had just one bout to claim top honours in the white-blue 56.5kg category. She got the better of Mouza Ali Nuaimi of Fatima Bint Mubarak School but was quick to express that she needed more competition.

“I’m happy with the victory but I will need more challenges ahead of the World Championship. There the competition will be more tough as players from around the globe will be taking part. In my category, there were only a few girls,” Al Khouri.

In the boys’ action, Russian expat Zubayru Alburiev pocketed gold in the white-blue 71.5kg category. “I started practicing just four months back and to win gold here was really special. Now I’m keen on carrying the form into the World Championship,” said the 17-year-old.